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By Disabled People for Disabled People

Diploma in Journalism

Accessible online diploma in journalism 2023
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Are you looking for a career in journalism? Is your dream to become a paid journalist reporting on the world around you?

Do you have a disability and have always felt the barriers to study are too high? 

We will be launching the next Diploma in Journalism online course in October 2024 in partnership with the National Council for Training Journalists (NCTJ). This qualification is equivalent to a foundation degree and is what many editors consider to be a prerequisite for junior reporter roles. 

Through our Academy this part time level 5 qualification course will be delivered in a fully inclusive and accessible online environment, allowing our students to study from home at their own pace, taking into consideration individual’s needs and requirements. 

The course will be delivered through a mixture of self-study (on the NCTJ’s e-learning platform) and tutor-led workshops. The workshops will take place online over a 3 term period, with 10 weekly 1.5 hour live sessions per term.  Each session will be recorded with live captioning by a stenographer and made available online for further viewing and revision.  We are aware that some students have a preference for BSL and we are currently seeking funding to provide this in the future. 

We are looking for the strongest candidates with a proven passion and dedication to make journalism and working within media a career path. The National Lottery funding is enabling us to provide highly subsidised access to the Level 5 Diploma and provide this in a fully accessible online environment.

Membership to the Academy and cost for the Diploma in Journalism including exams is £399 inc VATThe true cost of the course would be over £4000. 

The NCTJ technical minimum academic requirements for sitting the Diploma are 5 GCSE passes at level 4 or above (including English). If you’re unsure if the Diploma is right for you, you can access the entry test below.  We recommend you have a go:

Self Entry Test 2022

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Marking guide for above Self Test

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If you have a disability and are in receipt of DLA or PIP you will be eligible to apply for the course. If you are not in receipt of DLA or PIP, a Doctor/Consultant letter confirming your medical condition will suffice. Please get in touch if you have further questions.

All applications must be submitted by TBC September, 2024.  All successful & unsuccessful applicants will be notified by TBC September, 2024.

The first weekly online session will commence at 11am  TBC October, 2024.  All sessions are recorded for future reference and revision. Students will be required to attend the weekly  classes online via Zoom.  We understand that due to illness, health conditions or other commitments that some classes may be missed. We are here to support you on your journey.

Course Information

The NCTJ level 5 Diploma in Journalism is an industry recognised qualification. Gaining the full Diploma qualification at ‘gold standard’ (ie A-C in all subjects) can lead to employment within the industry.  The course will combine self-study on the NCTJ’s e-learning platform and webinar-based tutorials led by NCTJ-approved trainers.  

The current course will be split into three terms, with 10 weekly, 1.5 hour live sessions per term,  starting with an induction on the TBC October 2024. We have worked closely with the NCTJ to devise a course which will enable students with a wide range of abilities to participate and gain a valuable qualification.

The structure of the course includes 45 hours of guided learning through our weekly webinars. Each candidate is also entitled to an additional hour of one-to-one tutor support per diploma module. The remainder of your learning will be through self-study, using the NCTJ’s online distance learning programme. There is no upper or lower limit to how much self-study you are expected to undertake: each individual is different. However, as a guide, the NCTJ recommends you could spend up to 820 hours in total learning to complete the qualification (including all teaching, self-study, revision and exam time).

You will be required to take exams online in the mandatory and elective subjects, using an online exams system and remote proctoring technology.  We work closely with the NCTJ to ensure any reasonable adjustments are put in place to allow our students full and equal access to the exams. If you would like to discuss possible adjustments ahead of your application, please contact us.

To complete the Diploma in Journalism you must achieve A-E grades in all modules taken (achieving a minimum 82 credits) and a minimum 60wpm shorthand if that option is taken.  To gain the industry ‘gold standard’ in the diploma you must achieve A-C grades in all modules taken (achieving a minimum 82 credits) and 100wpm shorthand if taken.  All webinars will be filmed and made available online for anyone that misses a session. 

Partnering with the NCTJ has given the Academy the ability to provide direct mentoring and teaching support and to tailor the course for the needs of learners with a range of disabilities. These additional resources are not normally available through the NCTJ’s distance learning courses.

Ability Today’s online news platform is the perfect place for our student’s new content to be created and published. Our Academy will provide students with the unique ability to develop and hone their journalistic skills and deliver their content directly to our targeted audience.

Membership to our Academy will include the following benefits:

  • Unique Access to The NCTJ Level 5 Diploma in Journalism
  • Exclusive Webinar based tutorial content (45 + hours)
  • Masterclasses delivered by prominent industry leaders
  • Access to NCTJ’s Diploma Resource Portal
  • 1 hour of 1-to-1 Tutor support per module 
  • Student Press Pass

Course requirements

  • Laptop / Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Smartphone for audio recording and filming
  • Zoom application for tutorials
  • Word Processing software (MS Word / Google Docs)
  • The NCTJ Level 5 Diploma in Journalism is suitable for those aged 18+ and educated to 5 GCSE passes at level 4 or above (including English)

To sign up to become a member of the Academy (ADJ) and apply for the Diploma course please email info@abilitytoday.com with your details or fill out the form at the top of the page. ​

For further information on the DIPLOMA in Journalism View details in NCTJ website

To gain the Level 5 Diploma in Journalism, students must complete four mandatory units and make up the remaining 35 credits with a selection of these elective modules. The following options have been chosen by Ability Today in conjunction with the NCTJ as being the most appropriate for this unique course:

Mandatory units

  • Essential Journalism
  • Essential Journalism E-Portfolio
  • Essential media law and regulation  
  • Essential journalism ethics and regulation 

Elective units

  • PR and Communications for journalists  
  • Videojournalism for digital platforms 
  • Journalism for a digital audience 
  • Public affairs for journalists

All sessions will be held via Zoom and the recordings made available to watch on the NCTJ’s e-learning platform.

Please note that there are three optional modules available ‘Shorthand’ ‘Sports Journalism’ & ‘Practical Magazine Journalism’ that can be offered upon request and will run alongside the course. The ‘Shorthand’ and ‘Sports Journalism’ modules consist of 2x1.5hour online sessions alongside self-study. The ‘Practical Magazine Journalism’ module consists of 3x1.5hour online sessions alongside self-study. Please note that this module is assessed via a 6- hour ‘assessment day’ (and a mandatory preparatory session of the same duration).

The true cost of this exclusive course is over £4000 per student, with the support of the National Lottery we are able to deliver this course for £399 inc VAT per student.

Qualification Specifications for the NCTJ Level 5 Diploma in Journalism

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NCTJ Diploma in Journalism 2021 - 22

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For more information about the Academy for Disabled Journalists or Ability Today please email info@abilitytoday.com with your details.